First Day of School 2016-7

Happy  late summer!  We started school today.  I thought I’d get a little push-back (“it’s only August!”) but I think everyone was ready.  And even if they weren’t, I’ve been dropping hints over the past few weeks (think handing out school supplies and squeezing in a “few last summer activities”) that it was time.  And then this morning came, and everyone was ready.

My daughter’s reading lately has featured lots of contemporary teenage girls (and their angst, sigh).  And because of that, two weeks ago she asked me for a locker.

Excuse me?

“You know, a locker.  To keep my books in.”

Well.  So much for that.  I was convinced the year was blown before it had even started.  Was this just a ploy for her to demand to go to a public middle school, since there was no way I could possibly fulfill her needs?

Just as I was spiraling into a swirl of doom, she found one in our study.

A locker.


This is an Ikea bookcase.  We’ve had it for years (note the footprints on the lower door, and then tell me why there should be footprints there. Go ahead, I dare you) and I was even feeling like it needed to find a new home… until she saw it with new eyes.  It was a locker! So she engineered a lock mechanism and added a lock.

Detail of lock:


She put a hook on the inside wall, attached a rubber band to it and the knob, and voila, all her dreams for the school year were complete.

Or not.

In other news, we also started learning things.  Here are the read-alouds we’re beginning with.  A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be a group read (it’s so fun that we can all read now!), and the others I will read aloud.  We’re focusing on English history before we head to London in September.

Todays readings:


And, probably because this is not my first rodeo, I held our reading time to an hour instead of letting my excitement carry us away.  Everyone groaned when I stopped the MBS and begged me to keep reading.  (I said no.)  All four kids finished their work long before they thought they would and concluded they were amazingly smart.  In reality, they finished early because I planned it that way, so that we could play board games and play with the neighbor kids when they got home from summer camp.

It was my own little back-to-school engineering project to start us out on the right foot.  (Don’t tell.)

Have you started yet?  Are you engineering any changes to your school structure?


3 thoughts on “First Day of School 2016-7

  1. Yes! We started last week. We needed a fresh start, and I used the Olympics as a fun excuse to get going. I was just working on a blog post about what worked/what didn’t work last year, but it is turning out a bit discouraging; I’m tempted not to post it at all. We are all so glad it’s a new year. 🙂

  2. I love the locker hack! This is brilliant. We are not starting until our local Chicago Public Schools start on the day after Labor Day. But we are ramping up over these next couple of weeks with a modified daily “tutoring time” with me, individually, just to start getting into the rhythm. (I’m hoping to sidestep the tears of despair that came on the first day of school over the past couple of years.)

    And how fun about your trip to London! We went about 18 months ago and it was fabulous. I’ve been (slooowwwly) typing up some thoughts on our experiences at our blog ( Do you know the history book “Our Island Story” by Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall? It was very helpful to me in getting a better sense of English history!

    And we are big fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society!

    • I read Marshall’s book when we first started homeschooling– I will revisit it. Thanks.
      I forgot how much I like the MBS… it’s been fun to read it again.
      So glad to hear from you, Ann!

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